Tag Archives: Westies

June Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

26 Jun

JUNE’S SUPER TRIBUTES

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A tribute to love and the arts, my Performing Arts high school reunion was described by one of my classmates as “a roomful of love.” There was a lot of love, all of us happy to be together, some classmates coming from afar. All these years we have never lost touch with each other. There is a sense of ease when you are with the people you were always most comfortable with. We all knew that we hit the jackpot – none of us cut out for a standard high school experience. We were dancers, actors, and musicians. We were outsiders and we found each other. And we never lost that bond.

HAIL WONDER WOMAN

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Have you seen the new Wonder Woman movie? It is the updated version of the classic comic book character from DC Comics (1941) and the TV series (1970s). The most popular female comic-book superhero of all time, the series is celebrated for its depiction of strong women. In her book, The Secret History of Wonder Woman (Deckle Edge, 2014), Jill Lepore reveals our hero’s origins, essentially based on feminism. Influenced by early suffragists and feminists, Dr. William Moulton Marston created her in 1941. In his first script, he explained her Amazonian origins in ancient Greece, where men had kept women in chains, until they broke free and escaped. Strengthened by supporting themselves, they developed huge physical and mental power. Dr. Marston’s comic was meant to chronicle “a great movement now under way – the growth in the power of women.” … He goes on to say, “Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world.”

… AND FAREWELL BATMAN

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Adam West was Batman/Bruce Wayne in the 1960s TV series. In tribute to West’s iconic portrayal of the Caped Crusader, the Bat-signal was projected onto the tower of Los Angeles City Hall. As I’m sure you remember, the Gotham City Police Department used the Bat-signal to summon the superhero to help them … West’s deadpan delivery of his lines and his genuine yet self-mocking portrayal was what made the show a phenomenon. That and the way he danced the Batusi, of course. And don’t forget that famous earworm of a theme song: dada dada dada dada. Sure the plots were absurd and his adversaries were totally nuts – the Penguin? the Joker? the Riddler? really!??! – but he made all the ridiculousness perfectly sincere and sublime.

THE MUSIC OF ART

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Marc Chagall’s Triumph of Music (left) and Source of Music (right). Aptly, these huge murals are in the windows of the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center for all to see and enjoy. Growing up in a Russian shtetl, Chagall was surrounded by musicians, many were violin players. Music became his inspiration throughout his life and his deep love of it informed his artistic style. He listened above all to Mozart while he painted. He died at 97, having lived through the 20th century’s best and worst times (Russian pogroms, WWI, and Nazi persecution in WWII) … His musically inspired works include murals for opera houses and theaters, as well as backdrops, scenery, and costumes for operas. His distinctive use of bold colors and dazzling brush strokes brought to life fanciful dreamlike animals and even a fiddler on the roof! “Color is vibration like music; everything is vibration.”

“…FIND MAGIC WHEREVER YOU LOOK”

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A whimsical tribute to Dr. Seuss and his menagerie of unforgettable characters is at The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, MA. On display are our unforgettable “childhood friends” including Yertle the Turtle, Thing One and Thing Two, the Cat in the Hat, the Lorax, and Horton the Elephant who heard a Who … Aimed at children of ALL ages, the museum’s cheerful displays convey the positive message of his final book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!Congratulations! Today is your day. you’re off to great places! You’re off and away!” … And just like his books that address life’s obstacles and fears, the museum offers an environment filled with hope, encouragement, and inclusion. A welcoming message that is underscored by Dr. Seuss’s famous line from Horton Hears a Who: “Don’t give up, I believe in you all, A person’s a person no matter how small.”

FEELIN’ GROOVY

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groov·y / ɡroovē adj.
Slang. Exciting, attractive; excellent; enjoyable:

Groovy music; Groovy car; Groovy shag haircut
“Man, those are some groovy guitar riffs.”

Hey man, so you think you know what the word groovy means? In 1932, groovy was a jazz slang term, used in a phrase meaning first-rate, performing well, or excellent such as in the groove … Teens circa 1941 started using it for wonderful. Then in the happy hippie times of the 1960s, it was used as a synonym for cool, excellent, fashionable, or awesome … However, in late Victorian England, it had the completely opposite meaning. In that time, it applied to someone stuck in a groove or a rut – a square. As defined in Farmer and Henley’s Slang and Its Analogues (1890): “GROOVY, Adj. – Settled in habit; limited in mind” … Whoa, that is definitely not groovy.

WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE DOG?

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What makes a movie even better? A really cute dog as the star or in a supporting role, of course. They steal our hearts … Rin Tin Tin was a real German Shepherd who became a movie star in the 1920s. Rin Tin Tin the Fourth starred in the TV series (1954) about an orphan boy and his dog who help the Cavalry soldiers bring law and order to the Old West … Toto in The Wizard of Oz was played by a Cairn named Terry, whose film credit used her character name, Toto, rather than her real name. There never was a real Toto … Lassie, who starred in Lassie Come Home (1943), is also fictional. A boy in Yorkshire, England owns Lassie until his father sells her to a duke in Scotland. But brave Lassie is determined to find her way back home, encountering adventures that are the basis of the TV series (1954). Although Lassie was a female, she was played by a Rough Collie male named Pal … And my fave: Asta, the Wire Fox Terrier from The Thin Man movies. Owned by famous sleuths, Nick and Nora Charles, he helped them solve crimes by finding dead bodies and sniffing out and retrieving hidden guns. A veteran actor, he fittingly received star billing as “Asta,” his professional name.

WE CAN HELP

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As a tribute to Adam West/Batman, Wonder Woman, talented dogs, the power of reuniting, and the arts and creativity and freedom, donate to the American Civil Liberties Union. For almost 100 years, the ACLU works to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and its laws. That includes freedom of speech and religion, a woman’s right to choose, the right to due process, and citizens’ rights to privacy. A champion for people of color, women, LGBTQ people, prisoners, immigrants, and those with disabilities, the ACLU operates within the court system to enact change and protect our basic human rights as American citizens. We can help them continue to fight for our freedom and the protection of our constitutional rights now and for the next generations.

Soundtrack to this Issue

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Elvis Costello’s Alison

Their aim was true! 129 points true! Here’s a nod to 2017 NBA Champions the Golden State Warriors – Alison from Costello’s 1977 debut album, My Aim Is True. Go Warriors!

C’mon, sing along, you know the words:

Oh it’s so funny to be seeing you after so long, girl.
And with the way you look I understand
That you are not impressed.
But I heard you let that little friend of mine
Take off your party dress.

I’m not going to get too sentimental
Like those other sticky valentines,
Cause I don’t know if you’ve been loving somebody.
I only know it isn’t mine. 

Alison, I know this world is killing you.
Oh, Alison, my aim is true.

Who rescued whom?KEEP-YP+BarkleySo grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”lKEEP-Buddha“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
PA pic top: Richard Goldfinch
PA pic bottom: Richard Goldfinch
Wonder Woman pic: Wonder Woman’s revised look on the cover of Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1 (2016). Art by Stanley Lau
The Cat in the Hat sculpture inside The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum: Mark Murray/Springfield Museums
Alison: Words and Music by Elvis Costello ©Universal Music Publishing Group

May Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

25 May

THE MERRY MONTH OF MAY

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The tradition of giving lily-of-the-valley flowers on May 1 may have begun in 1560, when Sir Louis Girard presented King Charles IX with a bunch of lily-of-the-valley flowers as a token of luck and prosperity for the coming year. The King liked it so much that he began the custom of presenting lily-of-the-valley flowers to the ladies of his court each year on May Day. Ever since then, the lily-of-the-valley has been considered a talisman, a porte-bonheur, ringing in the return of springtime happiness … They are called muguet in France, they symbolize love and affection. In fact, May 1 is a French holiday, when people offer muguet to their loved ones and neighbors in a gesture of friendship and in celebration of spring. Bonne Fête du Muguet!

GRAMMYs BACK WHERE YOU BELONG

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How great is this? Marking the first GRAMMY telecast in New York City since 2003, the 60th GRAMMY Awards will be at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, January 28, 2018! It was announced via a very cool short film called NY Storiesdirected by Spike Lee, featuring artists telling stories at musical landmarks all over the city. As Spike calls it, “New York City of Music!”

THERE’S A NEW BLUE IN TOWN

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So many blues. Can there really be a new blue? Oregon State University chemists accidentally created a new shade of blue, the first in 200 years. The color is called “YInMn blue,” after its chemical makeup of yttrium, indium and manganese oxides. It’s like cobalt blue, but a little brighter, more vibrant. This is an important find since blue plays a significant role in our lives because of its relationship to the sky and water. You can bet we’ll be seeing it real soon in new cars and on fashion runways. It’s even a new Crayola crayon replacing the recently retired Dandelion yellow.

DREAMING THE BEATLES

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On this 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band, let’s celebrate it with the just-published book by Rolling Stone columnist Rob Sheffield, Dreaming the Beatles: The Love Story of One Band and the Whole World. As a Beatles fan with bookshelves filled with Beatles books – bios, song analyses, et al. – this is a welcome addition simply because it is none of that. Instead it is a collection of essays that explain why they matter to our generation and what that says about us. There is no doubt that we are a generation emotionally attached to them. Rob Sheffield construes it this way: “Being born on the same planet as the Beatles is one of the 10 best things that’s ever happened to me.” Amen to that.

SIR ROGER MOORE

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Although Moonraker may have been silly, Roger Moore’s fourth outing as James Bond mixed charm, style, and a dry humor with a deadpan delivery and wink in his eye. His Bond had a well-intentioned nature. In fact, he imbued dignity in every one of his roles … My first sighting of Sir Roger was as Simon Templar, aka The Saint. Later, he became my favorite Bond. How sad to ponder that we have lost our first James Bond actor. However, my favorite Roger Moore movie is Ffolkes, a spy thriller where he plays an unconventional and very cocky anti-terrorism expert. I may have seen it a very long time ago, but it’s an unforgettable adventure story with great acting … An animal lover, Sir Roger was opposed to fox hunting and campaigned against the use of foie gras in restaurants … He was cool. I close with a few of his own words: “I’m the fourth best James Bond” … “Of course I do my own stunts. And I also do my own lying” … “I would love to be remembered as one of the greatest Lears or Hamlets. But, as that’s not going to happen, I’m quite happy I did Bond.”

A IS FOR AVOCADO

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Love avocados? Here’s a recipe for a great and very versatile Avocado Cream Sauce. Scoop one large ripe avocado into a food processor. Add ½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream, juice from 1 lime, kosher salt and pepper. Blend until smooth and thick. You might want to add any of these: minced garlic, cilantro, basil, chili powder, jalapeño, or sriracha sauce. Mix with spaghetti as a pasta sauce, drizzle over grilled chicken or salmon, as a dip with chips or to dress a salad, with tacos, spread on a hamburger bun, and great with shrimp and sushi rolls, too! Makes everything even more delish!

DOG NEWS

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As long as we are marking the 20th anniversary of Titanic and Celine Dion’s smash hit My Heart Will Go On from the film, I thought I would share a story about the real Titanic. Many pets were on the ship for the journey but few survived the ship’s sinking (the dogs pictured on the deck here didn’t survive). Of the 12 dogs aboard, three dogs did survive – all three small. One Pomeranian was named Lady, bought by Margaret Hays while in Paris. She was wrapped in a blanket by Miss Hays when the order was given to evacuate. The second surviving Pomeranian was owned by Elizabeth Rothschild. The Pekinese, named Sun Yat-Sen, was owned by Myna Harper and her husband, Henry S. Harper, of the publishing firm, Harper & Row. All three boarded early lifeboats in the arms of their owners … Oh, if you hear the one about a First Officer William Murdoch’s large Newfoundland who swam between a lifeboat and the rescue ship and whose barking guided the survivors to safety? Don’t believe it – it’s chalked up to a hallucination … Then there’s this. In 1986, in the ship’s wreckage lying on the seabed, a statue of the goddess Artemis was found. She is the patron saint of animals.

END NOTE

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The Manchester tragedy – my thoughts went instantly to those teenagers that were thrilled to go see their favorite artist perform in concert. How many times did I do the very same thing when I was a teenager? Countless times. Then I grew up and did the same thing for a living. Not once did I ever think I might be in danger – that there was the possibility of terrorism at suchlike events and in suchlike venues. THEY WERE ATTENDING A CONCERT. A CONCERT. ONLY ATTENDING A CONCERT…

WE CAN HELP

AlanGilbert.May2017.nyphilbalconies“Music helps to define what it means to be human, and orchestras will continue to do what we have always done: playing powerful, intriguing, uplifting, thought-provoking music.” … Bravo Maestro! Alan Gilbert will celebrate his final season as Music Director of the NY Philharmonic with the Season Finale: A Concert for Unity on June 8-10. The Orchestra will be joined by musicians from orchestras around the world playing Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 to celebrate the power of music to build bridges and unite people across borders. Yo-Yo Ma (June 8) and Wynton Marsalis (June 9) will perform as special guest artists … The Maestro’s tenure may be over but his legacy lives on through the Alan Gilbert Fund, honoring his innovative programming and partnerships, and his fresh perspectives on classic works. He will be leading a new initiative in which musicians from around the world will come together to perform music at critical times in support of peace, development, and human rights. We can all support that.

Soundtrack to this Issue

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What’s your favorite song mentioning NY? This is mine:
Harry Nilsson‘s I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City

This song, written by Harry, was not used as the theme for the film, Midnight Cowboy. Instead they chose Harry to cover Fred Neil’s Everybody’s Talkin’. But I’ve always thought this was the one!

C’mon, sing along, you know the words:

I say goodbye to all my sorrows
And by tomorrow I’ll be on my way
I guess the lord must be in New York City

I’m so tired of getting nowhere
Seein’ my prayers going unanswered
I guess the lord must be in New York City 

Well, here I am Lord, knocking at your back door
Ain’t it wonderful to be
Where I’ve always wanted to be?
For the first time I’ll breathe free here in New York City

Who rescued whom?barkleyypSo grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”lBuddha.TiffanyLatz.b-w“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Blue pic: YInMn Blue courtesy of Oregon State University
Dogs Aboard the Titanic pic: Courtesy of Widener University
Roger Moore pic from Moonraker: ©MGM/United Artists
New York Philharmonic pic: Michael Falco for The New York Times
Alan Gilbert quote: Charlie Rose interview
I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City: music and lyrics by Harry Edward Nilsson ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

March Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

27 Mar

MARCH SAYS DREAM ON

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There’s a Super Bloom happening in San Diego’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Purple verbenas, desert dandelions, brown-eyed primroses, desert sunflowers, and evening primroses offer us a glimpse of what we hope is in store for all of us after a crazy snow-filled March.

DESERT BLOOM

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This 30th anniversary of U2’s Joshua Tree reminds us of another California desert blooming with wildflowers. Known for its mind-blowing views, the Joshua Tree National Park has inspired artists and musicians for the past 75 years. The Joshua tree, the largest of the yuccas, grows only in the Mojave Desert. A spike-leafed evergreen, it grows nowhere else in the world. Mormon settlers are said to have named it “Joshua” because it mimicked the outstretched arms of the Biblical Joshua, at prayer and waving toward the Promised Land.

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Produced in March 1987 by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno in U2’s native Dublin, their fifth album Joshua Tree took inspiration from the “mythic and real America,” says Bono. The Edge’s fierce guitar work plus Bono’s ever impassioned vocals equal a signature sound of spirit, hope, and emotion. Their best-selling album includes Where the Streets Have No Name, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, and With or Without You. It may be imperfect but still a classic.

MONOPOLY UPS THEIR GAME

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Parker Brothers acquired the rights to Monopoly on March 19, 1935. Is there anyone who has never taken a chance on strolling Atlantic City to buy utilities and railroads or to hit it big with Boardwalk hotels? The original 10 tokens were an iron, purse, lantern, racecar, thimble, shoe, top hat, battleship, cannon, and rocking horse. The existing Scottish terrier, battleship, race car, top hat, and cat tokens will carry on. To be joined by Tyrannosaurus rex, a penguin, and a rubber ducky. No hashtag, no emoji, no cell phone. Offered a large collection of potential new tokens, more than 4 million voters worldwide selected these to be presented in the next version of the game. Take your game down from your closet shelf. See what tokens you have. What happened to the iron? I think my old game just got valuable. Ebay, anyone?

QUEEN MONOPOLY
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Even greater Monopoly news! You will be a Champion of the World touring with Queen in the band’s own Monopoly version. According to Brian May, instead of moving around the board picking up real estate, Queen Monopoly will take players through standout moments and performances in the band’s career. Fans tour the history of the band, from their first concert at Imperial College in 1970 to their last with Freddie Mercury at Knebworth Park in 1986 and buy venues and hit singles and try to avoid taxes, jail, and bankruptcy. How cool is this? Really looking forward to passing “go” and “collecting $200” with the bicycle token from Bicycle Race or maybe Brian May’s guitar.

CHUCK BERRY

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“If you had to give rock ‘n’ roll a name, you might call it Chuck Berry.”
(John Lennon)

A founding father of rock ‘n’ roll, Chuck Berry will be remembered for his great songs, guitar riffs, and his famous duck walk. At 90 years old, he had a new album coming out this year. As a songwriter, he was honored with PEN New England’s first Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence award, held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. His co-honoree, Leonard Cohen, said “all of us are footnotes to the words of Chuck Berry.” Bob Dylan called him “the Shakespeare of rock ‘n’ roll.” And John Lennon called him “a rock poet.” … He influenced a new generation of musicians to write songs that tell a story. You Never Can Tell is a love story that goes like this: “It was a teenage wedding, and the old folks wished them well, You could see that Pierre did truly love the mademoiselle, And now the young monsieur and madame have rung the chapel bell, ‘C’est la vie’, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell.” … By the way, did you know that his Johnny B Goode is heading for the stars on the Voyager spacecraft? It doesn’t get cooler than that.

MORSE NO MORE

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Colin Dexter, the creator of detective Inspector Morse who solves crimes in Oxfordshire, has died. Dexter’s 13 Morse novels (1975-1999) were adapted into the wonderful TV series starring John Thaw as the detective. That series then spawned Lewis, Morse’s longtime sergeant and Endeavour, about Morse’s early days on the police force. All his Morse stories were set in the city of Oxford, where murders happened at the University’s colleges, living quarters, and in Oxford’s beautiful countryside. The crossword puzzle loving Morse was erudite, cranky, cryptic, and not especially easy to understand. Thanks to Dexter for creating such an interesting character. And like Sherlock Holmes with prodigious intelligence and curious eccentricities, Morse always got his man.

DOG NEWS

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Meet Alfred, a silly, big Goldendoodle, intent on jumping on everyone at the shelter. Brody is an overly exuberant and misunderstood German shepherd mix. Their stories and others form an inspiring trip through the world of homeless dogs and the people who work to save them in Rescuing Penny Jane. The author covers what life is like in the shelters across the country. There are badly abused dogs and many who are neglected. Others are given up by their families who cannot take care of them. Case studies provide valuable insights into the importance and challenges of finding these dogs their forever homes. Reading this book, you might feel moved to learn more about adopting and caring for a shelter dog. Or find out how to make a difference by volunteering in one.

WE CAN HELP

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Vets with combat stress train service dogs for fellow vets. That says it all. Research shows that companion animals, specifically dogs, help reduce blood pressure and ease stress. At the Warrior Canine Connection, service members with PTSD or mild traumatic brain injuries benefit greatly from working with service dogs. It can take two years and many service members to train each dog during which the veterans learn to become more patient, handle stressful situations better, and get back to living their lives. It costs more than $25,000 to breed, feed, care for, train, and place each dog. Every donation makes a difference.

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack.Aerosmith.mar2017

Aerosmith’s Dream On

For MTV’s 10th anniversary in 1991, the band performed the song live with an orchestra conducted by Michael Kamen.

C’mon, sing along, you know the words:

Every time when I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone
It went by, like dusk to dawn
Isn’t that the way
Everybody’s got the dues in life to pay

I know nobody knows
Where it comes and where it goes
I know it’s everybody sin
You got to lose to know how to win

Half my life
Is books written pages
Live and learn from fools and
From sages
You know it’s true, oh
All these things you do come back to you

Sing with me, sing for the years
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears
Sing with me, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good lord will take you away

Who rescued whom?
barkleyyp
So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
Buddha.TiffanyLatz.b-w
“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Desert Bloom pic: Anza-Borrego DRC @AnzaBResearch
Joshua Tree pic: @Wanderlust Nomad, Trover
U2 pic: Anton Corbijn (taken during the album photo shoot sessions)
You Never Can Tell lyrics: Chuck Berry ©BMG Rights Management US, LLC
Dream On lyrics: Steven Tyler ©BMG Rights Management US, LLC

December Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

22 Dec

DECEMBER WISHES

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WISHING YOU A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY SEASON
FILLED WITH FRIENDSHIP AND DELIGHT.

JOY

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Tread softly, breathe peacefully, laugh hysterically.”
Nelson Mandela

As we welcome in the New Year, we can choose to be positive, optimistic, and to hold fast believing deep down in our hearts that, just as spring follows winter, good things will come.

LIGHT

light-treestarlights-dec2016“You can’t have a light without a dark to stick it in.” (Arlo Guthrie) Arlo’s right, right? … So much light all around us at this time of the year. Light from the Chanukah candles, lights on the Christmas trees, twinkling white lights on the trees in the city streets. In Genesis 1:3 on the very first day of creation “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” As a verb, it means to illuminate and enlighten as with knowledge, to cast light upon. As a noun, we shed a light upon a problem or mystery, gaining enlightenment. The Eagles had this to say in Already Gone: “Just remember this my girl when you look up in the sky, You can see the stars and still not see the light.”

GOT CHOCOLATE?

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Did you get or give a box of chocolate? This is the best time of the year for chocolate lovers. Chanukah gelt made of chocolate. Christmas gift boxes filled with all kinds of chocolate treats. Do you like it plain or with caramel or nuts? But the big question is milk or dark? (You know that white is not chocolate, right?) The dark has lower added sugar and fats than milk since the benefits come from cocoa. Thus, the more cocoa, the darker the chocolate, the better it is for you. But the lack of milk solids can make it dry and bitter. On the other hand, the milk is all creamy and yummy because it contains all the good stuff left out of the dark. Me? I’ve never met a chocolate I didn’t like. Luckily my present was a tower of the stuff.

WE CAN HELP: REMEMBER OUR VETS

veteransartwall-skullpic-dec2016This mask was painted by Perry Hopman, Staff Sergeant who served in Iraq and Kosovo. “The flag side was the face I showed to the world. The dead side was how I felt.” … Our veterans come back from combat suffering from PTSD. They need to come to terms with their overwhelming memories and emotions. Creating art for the American Veterans Art Wall helps them express their feelings of isolation and despair so they will see the promise of light ahead and feel real community. On the Art Wall, you will see paintings, poems, photographs, collages, cartoons, sculptures – and even tattoos. Take a look. You will feel sad, uplifted, grateful, and most of all proud. To ensure the American Arts Trust can continue to help heal veterans through art, we can donate or volunteer to be part of this worthy project!

Soundtrack to this Issue and a Bonus Track!

soundtrack1-hankwilliams-dec2016-cr2-use
Hank Williams’s I Saw the Light
(1948)

C’mon, sing along, you know the words:

I wandered so aimless life filled with sin
I wouldn’t let my dear saviour in
Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I saw the light I saw the light
No more darkness no more night
Now I’m so happy no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

soundtrack2-toddrundgren-dec2016
Todd Rundgren’s I Saw the Light
(1972)

It was late last night
I was feeling something wasn’t right
There was not another soul in sight
Only you, only you
So we walked along,
Though I knew there was something wrong
And the feeling hit me oh so strong about you
Then you gazed up at me and the answer was plain to see
‘Cause I saw the light in your eyes

Who rescued whom?
barkley-img_3216-cr-dec2016
So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
IMGP2541.cr.newsltr
“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
The Eagles Already Gone lyrics: Jack Tempchin, Robert Arnold Strandlund ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Combat Art Therapy Mask pic: American Arts Trust.org
Hank Williams’s I Saw the Light lyrics: Hank Williams ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Todd Rundgren’s I Saw the Light lyrics: Todd Rundgren ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

November Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

28 Nov

NOVEMBER: SERVICE. HONOR. FREEDOM.

veteransday-nov2016The sun continues to rise, welcoming a brand new day every day. And we can all agree on this: Let’s honor our veterans! For they protect our cherished freedom.

STAND UP FOR VETERANS

standupforheroes-nov2016-bossseinLouis CK, Jon Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan, and Bruce Springsteen. The famous comics and The Boss performed at the 10th Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert to raise funds for wounded veterans. Founded by ABC’s Bob Woodruff, who was wounded himself reporting in Iraq, Stand Up For Heroes has raised more than $33 million for the Bob Woodruff Foundation in the past 10 years. The foundation works with community and national programs, as well as the military, to make healthy and positive futures for veterans and their families.

PURPLE

purple-grid-nov2016“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” (Alice Walker)

A certain concession speech was made in purple lapels and blouse and a matching tie. Purple is the color you get when blue and red come together, it is bipartisanship, it is unity. The purple in the U.S. military Purple Heart award represents courage. Because of purple’s rarity in nature, it is a symbol of nobility, wealth, and power. Suffragettes wore purple to symbolize dignity in the 1900s. A symbol of harmony made forever memorable in Jimi’s Purple Haze and Prince’s Purple Rain. It symbolizes high ideals, creativity, devotion, and peace. With hope in our hearts and an “open mind”, we look forward, not backward. That we may experience peace and prosperity in a nation united, with liberty and justice for all.

HALLELUJAH

leonardcohen-nov2016“There’s a blaze of light, In every word, It doesn’t matter which you heard, The holy or the broken Hallelujah” … A beautiful song. And everyone who has ever covered Hallelujah, has done right by it: Bob Dylan, John Cale, Bono, Rufus Wainwright, Ed Sheeran, k.d. lang. But it was Jeff Buckley’s version that brought it to light. So the sad news that its composer, Leonard Cohen, died touched so many people … Cohen’s opening lyrics evoking King David introduce the music, describing the harmonic progression of the verse and explaining the song’s structure: “It goes like this: the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift.” In C major, it’s the ascending melody line, basically the scale that makes the song ultimately uplifting. A prayer, a hymn even … “I did my best, it wasn’t much, I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch. I told the truth, I didn’t come to fool ya. And even though it all went wrong, I’ll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.”

Leonard Cohen explained the song: “This world is full of conflicts and full of things that cannot be reconciled, but there are moments when we can…embrace the whole mess, and that’s what I mean by ‘Hallelujah.’ That regardless of what the impossibility of the situation is, there is a moment when you open your mouth and you throw open your arms and you embrace the thing and you just say, Hallelujah!”

Here’s what he said in an interview in 1991, but he could have said it now: “I think the irony of America is transcendent in the song…It’s a song of deep intimacy and affirmation of the experiment of democracy in this country…That this is really where the experiment is unfolding. This is really where the races confront one another, where the classes, where the genders, where even the sexual orientations confront one another. This is the real laboratory of democracy. So I wanted to have that feeling in the song, too.”

MUSIC HEALS WOUNDED WARRIORS

musicorps-poster-nov2016The MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band, consisting of injured war veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, was established at Walter Reed Hospital in 2007. To help in their recovery, each veteran is taught how to play an instrument, write songs, and arrange music by professional musicians. And they are really good, playing concerts across the nation. They joined Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters at a benefit concert in New York City and performed Hallelujah with the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra. Do you watch NCIS? Then you might remember the special (and emotional) 300th episode last spring that featured the Band singing Hallelujah! Through music, MusiCorps helps our military veterans find peace and healing so they can go on with their lives. How inspiring is that?

HOPE

hope-nov2016-2-use“Hope and optimism are different. Hope has to do not with thinking everything’s okay, but seeing that it’s not and then you move anyway.” (Anna Deavere Smith) … No matter whom one voted for, the harsh atmosphere affected us emotionally and we feel spent. What to do? We must embrace change and have hope that, despite all expectations, we will come out on the other side stronger, smarter, and united. We can help each other by providing support, listening better, pursuing solutions, and working together. For engaging in these productive deeds we will inspire hope, we will heal our wounds, and we will move forward. That is my hope.

THANKFUL

tdayparade-trixiewithfelix-nov2016Appearing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time is a bouncing dog named Trixie seen here floating with Felix the Cat. By the way, the Felix balloon, a handmade replica of the original 1927 version, was the first ever flown at the Macy’s Parade … Thanksgiving is a day to eat delicious food with loved ones and watch colorful huge characters float in the sky. And it couldn’t come at a better time. Consider it a respite when we took the time to really enjoy all that the day brings and to be thankful to be in a country where peace and prosperity are possible.

FREEDOM MEDAL

freedommedal-nov2016What an incredible group of people to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor. They include Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Ellen DeGeneres, Lorne Michaels, Robert DeNiro, Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Cicely Tyson, Vin Scully, Frank Gehry, Maya Lin, and Bill and Melinda Gates … Talk about humility. This was Vin Scully’s response to his inclusion: “Oh my gosh, no. Are you sure? I’m just an old baseball announcer.”

DOG NEWS

dognews-secretservicedogsbook-nov2016Bravery, loyalty, and love. Wherever the president goes, so do the dogs. A new book, Secret Service Dogs: The Heroes Who Protect the President of the United States by Maria Goodavage, tells the history of the Secret Service K9 program and tells stories about the dogs that served along with their handlers and the bond between them. And all they ask in return? To play ball and get lots and lots of belly rubs.

WE CAN HELP

wecanhelp-servicedog-cemetery-nov2016Patriot PAWS trains and provides service dogs of the highest quality at no cost to disabled American veterans with mobile disabilities and PTS in order to help restore their physical and emotional independence. A Patriot PAWS service dog is trained for 18 months to two years at a cost of approximately $33,000, so donations are crucial. They are currently accepting applications from veterans who served during Desert Storm.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

soundtrack-traffic-band-nov2016-useTraffic’s Freedom Rider
Traffic at the Santa Monica Civic Center, February 21, 1972.

C’mon, sing along, you know the words:

Like a hurricane around your heart
when earth and sky are torn apart
He comes gathering up the bits
while hoping that the puzzle fits
He leaves you, he leaves you, Freedom rider

With a silver star between his eyes
that open up at hidden lies
Big man crying with defeat
see people gathering in the street
You feel him, you feel him, Freedom rider

 

Who rescued whom?
whorescued-img_2902-fb-sun-10-23-16
So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
TulipEars.b.hi-c
“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Leonard Cohen pic: Official website leonardcohen.com
Hallelujah lyrics: Leonard Cohen ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Leonard Cohen 1st quote: The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of ‘Hallelujah’ by Alan Light (Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2012)
Leonard Cohen 2nd quote: Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo (Da Capo Press, 2003)
Anne Deveare Smith quote: Time, November 7, 2016
Freedom Rider: Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

 

April Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

27 Apr

SOMETIMES IT SNOWS IN APRIL

Prince.Apri2016.snowinapril

Sing along to Prince:

 Sometimes it snows in April
Sometimes I feel so bad, so bad
Sometimes I wish that life was never ending,
But all good things, they say, never last

APRIL’S SCOTTISH REIGN

Parade.StephenPDriscollMemorialPipeBand.NYCTartanWeekFB.cr

And it was in the relentless rain, those unavoidable April showers, that the great Scots were celebrated in the New York Tartan Day Parade.

PURPLE REIGN: LONG LIVE PRINCE

Prince.Apri2016

Doves cry now, so do we. How sad it is to lose this magical artist too soon. With huge limitless talent, he could do it all. And all of it he did to perfection … “When I first started out in the music industry, I was most concerned with freedom. Freedom to produce, freedom to play all the instruments on my records, freedom to say anything I wanted to,” said Prince at his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 … “Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince; and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” (William Shakespeare, Hamlet)

SEX, LIES, AND MOVIES

Book.DirtyWordsAndFilthyPictures.Apr2016

Freedom of expression. It’s the entitlement of a true artist. And it is what the First Amendment guarantees, meaning the government does not have the right to forbid us from saying and writing what we like. But in the movies, that wasn’t always so. Did you wonder why married couples were in two beds instead of sharing one? That is because during Hollywood’s Golden Age film censors, charged with protecting the moral fabric of their communities, were the arbiters of what we could see … In his new book, Dirty Words and Filthy Pictures: Film and the First Amendment (University of Texas Press), Jeremy Geltzer explores cinema censorship, the movies that changed the law resulting in greater creative freedom for all, and how modern versions of censorship are shaping what we see today … Well-suited for this subject, Geltzer is an entertainment attorney for major studios (Paramount, Warner Bros., Disney), producer (Turner Classic Movies), and teacher of film history.

APRIL CELEBRATES POETRY

Foley.Apr2016

In the movie biz, it’s the Foley artist who enhances the film with sound effects such as a thunderous night or a procession of clip-clopping horses … In her poem Foley (from The Oldest Map with the Name America, 1999), Lucia Perillo tackles the music lover’s age-old conundrum:

“In certain sixties pop songs that had the singer keening
antonyms: how can something so right feel so wrong,
so good hurt so bad…you know what I’m talking about.
And don’t you think it’s peculiar:
in the first half of the sixties they made the black girl-groups
sing with white accents and in the second half of the sixties
they made the white girl-groups sing with black accents,
which proves that what you hear is always
some strange alchemy of what somebody thinks you’ll pay for
and what you expect.”

ACTORS AS MUSICIANS

EthanHawke.born-to-be-blue.Apr2016

Ethan Hawke stars in Born to Be Blue, a re-imagining of jazz legend Chet Baker’s musical comeback in the late 60s. This is what Hawke says about why actors like to portray musicians:

“One thing about studying Shakespeare as an actor is that you start to hear the music in language. Shakespeare and the best rappers have a lot in common. There’s a musicality to language. Music is just about as powerful a unifying force as we have. It’s without language, it’s without race, it’s without so much … It’s because we want to be a little closer to the music.”

SHAKESPEARE’S APRIL

Shakespeare.Apr2016.1

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-on-Avon on April 23, 1564 and died on April 23, 1616. And it is April that is mentioned in his works more than any other month.

“April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”
(Sonnet 98)

“O, how this spring of love resembleth
The uncertain glory of an April day,
Which now shows all the beauty of the sun,
And by and by a cloud takes all away.”
(Proteus in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act I, Scene 3)

SHAKESPEARE, A NOBLER ACTION HERO

Shakespeare_action_figure.Apr2016

Need inspiration? Get yourself this Shakespeare action doll. Wordsmith as action figure, you ask? Why not? Known for his sharp tongue and withering wit, William Shakespeare wrote many a drama with loads of action. “To take arms against a sea of troubles,” his heroes believe in truth, faith, and loyalty, same as today’s action heroes. And he is wearing spandex. You just have to make up your own quips and obscure Elizabethan-era references. You know you’ll feel smarter and maybe he’ll even inspire you!

SCOTLAND’S NEW TARTAN: LOCH CHAIM!

Tartan.Jewish.Apri2016

The first kosher Jewish Tartan is here … Tartans have represented different clans in Scotland for over 200 years, now Jews have their own. This new Jewish Tartan design reflects both Jewish values and Scottish history. It features blue and white – colors of both the Israel and Scotland flags – with a central gold line representing the gold from the Ark, a silver line representing the silver that adorns the Torah, and red for the red Kiddush wine … A splendid symbol of Jewish and Scottish culture, order your Tartan tallit and kilt now!

DOG NEWS: SCOTS HONOR THEIR OWN!

TartanBagpiper+Barkley.IMG_0565.cr.Apr2016

The New York Tartan Day Parade featured the Barbour Tartan Dog Pack of Westies and Scotties. Sure, Outlander’s Sam Heughan was the Grand Marshall who led the marchers up Avenue of the Americas, but it was these distinguished Scottish dogs that brought roaring cheers from the bystanders. Yes, that’s my Barkley getting his marching orders from a Bagpiper as they get set to join the Parade.

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.GrammyFoundation.Apr2016

In honor of Prince, please consider a donation to the GRAMMY Foundation which provides national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education and the urgency of preserving our rich culture and musical heritage.

Soundtrack to this Issue

 Soundtrack.DonovanBeatles.Apr2016

Donovan’s Mellow Yellow

Great Scot! Born in Glasgow, Scotland and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, Donovan’s hits include Hurdy Gurdy Man, Jennifer Juniper, and Sunshine Superman. But who doesn’t hold fond memories of flower power and Mellow Yellow?

He traveled to India with the Beatles to study Transcendental Meditation in February 1968. That’s Donovan in all his very mellow yellow glory in the middle. (Left to right: Pattie Harrison, John Lennon, Mike Love, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, George Harrison, Mia Farrow, Donovan, Paul McCartney, Jane Asher, and Cynthia Lennon.)

Donovan: “The Beatles discovered meditation and were searching for something different. Well, they certainly got something different from Donovan. A guitar style and a set of chords that opened up an enormous amount of new ways of doing things. And that’s what we musicians do, we pass on styles from one to another.”

C’mon, sing along, you know the words:

I’m just mad about Saffron
Saffron’s mad about me
I’m just mad about Saffron
She’s just mad about me

They call me mellow yellow
(Quite rightly)
They call me mellow yellow
(Quite rightly)
They call me mellow yellow.

Who rescued whom?Barkley+Mom.Tartan.IMG_0587.cr.Apr2016

At the New York Tartan Day Parade.
So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”lIMGP2541.cr.newsltr

“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Prince pic: Rolling Stone
Sometimes It Snows In April lyrics: Prince, Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group
Ethan Hawke pic: IFC Films
Ethan Hawke quote: Entertainment Weekly, April 1/8, 2016
Shakespeare pic: Chicago Stage Review
Soundtrack pic: Beatles Book Monthly No. 143
Mellow Yellow lyrics: Donovan Leitch ©Peermusic Publishing

February Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

25 Feb

DOGS TAKE THE LEAD IN FEBRUARY

SoBestInShow1942.westie.Feb2015 it was that the Westie won the 1942 Westminster Best in Show! Terriers have won more than any other group. The wonderful David Frei explains it’s their assertive nature. “Goldens and Labs (both have no wins) are looking at their people as if to say, ‘What are we going to do now?’ Terriers have a little bit more of an edge because they were originally bred to look for trouble. They’re always on their toes trying to find out what’s going on next, and they don’t care who’s behind them.” … Then there’s showmanship. That’s the ability to grab the attention of everyone watching, including the judge, and that’s the icing on the dog biscuit … The Metropolitan Museum of Art got hit with dog fever, too, acquiring a marble sculpture of a Maltese from 1782 donated by Barbara Walters in honor of Cha Cha, her beloved Havanese who died last year. Such largesse (it cost her $300,000) because, “I know everybody feels this, but Cha Cha was the best dog in the world.” Don’t we all feel that way? And isn’t each of us right? Oh, and as for its setting, the Met says: “It does have its place here, at a museum in Central Park, where thousands of dogs take their constitutionals every day.”

JOURNALISTS MAKE THE NEWS

You couldn’t watch the news without hearing about the loss of a newsman, one way or another. Each one DavidCarr.Feb2015maddeningly sad. For me, losing the NY Times’ David Carr is losing that articulate voice I turned to for an unvarnished perspective. His words always moved me, a storyteller telling the truth with invincible wonder, honesty, and humanity. To David Carr, respect worked both ways – to and from his audience. And with generosity ever present … In his penultimate Media Equation column, he wrote about Brian Williams: “I don’t know if Mr. Williams will lose his job. I don’t think he should, his transgressions were not a fundamental part of his primary responsibilities … We want our anchors to be everywhere, to be impossibly famous, globe-trotting, hilarious, down-to-earth, and above all, trustworthy. It’s a job description that no one can match.” … Finally, his colleague at the Times, A.O. Scott memorialized him thus: “He was a collector of personalities and anecdotes, a shrewd and compassionate judge of character. A warrior for the truth.” … Amen.

GRAMMY IS THE WORD

Sam Smith’s Stay With Me which came under controversy weeks before the GRAMMY show when it Grammy_logo.Feb2015was ruled that Tom Petty would receive a songwriting credit because of the song’s similarities to TP’s I Won’t Back Down (see January Newsletter), ended up with four Grammys. In accepting he said, “It was only when I started to be myself that the music started to flow and people started to listen.”Stunning. Powerful. Fearless. That would be Annie Lennox whose performance (with Hozier) stole the show … Another show stealer was Tom Jones singing (with Jessie J) the Righteous Brothers’ You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’Prince goaded, “Albums, remember those?” Oh yes, and we still have all yours … Through joyful tears, we note Joan Rivers posthumously won the Best Spoken Word Album Grammy for her Diary of a Mad Diva … And honoring Bob Dylan at the MusiCares gala, you might like to know that President Jimmy Carter said, “Bob Dylan’s words on peace and human rights are much more incisive and much more powerful than those of any President of the United States.” Talk about speaking truth to power!

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.AKCHumaneFund.Feb2015Every dog deserves a good home. The AKC Humane Fund protects pets, supports pet organizations, finds forever homes for dogs across the country, rehabilitates dogs with special needs, has domestic abuse shelters that offer safe havens to victims and their pets, and offers aid to animal shelters that provide pets temporary homes during disasters. Donate now so that every dog lives a happy, healthy life.

Soundtrack to this Issue is
Soundtrack.AnnieLennoxNostalgia.Feb2015
Annie Lennox singing
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ classic I Put a Spell on You
from her new album, Nostalgia

C’mon, sing along:
I put a spell on you
Because you’re mine
Because you’re mine
Because you’re mine

Who rescued whom?Delivery.10.29.14.happiness.cr So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to
Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
IMGP2541.cr.newsltr
“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Westminster pic: AKC Archives
David Frei quote: Westminster Kennel Club
Metropolitan Museum of Art and Barbara Walters: New York Times
David Carr pic: Adweek ZUMA Press/Newscom
David Carr quote: NY Times, The Media Equation, February 8, 2015
A.O. Scott quote: NY Times, An Appraisal, Friday, February 13, 2015
Jimmy Carter quote: EW.com, February 20, 2015
Grammy logo: Grammy.com/Take40
Pug pic: AKC Humane Fund
I Put a Spell On You lyrics: Jalacy Hawkins ©1956 Alfred Music/EMI Unart Catalog Inc.
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